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The Music Scene

Posted: 4:19 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013

Atlanta Jazz Fest lineup announced 

Meshell Ndegeocello
Charlie Gross
Bassist Meshell Ndegeocello.


Gretchen Parlato photo
Modern jazz singer Gretchen Parlato.

By Melissa Ruggieri

The 36th Annual Atlanta Jazz Festival will this year focus its spotlight on “Generation Next.” The lineup for the free fest, which takes places Memorial Day Weekend (May 25-27) in Piedmont Park, includes Cécile McLorin Salvant, Dominick Farinacci, Meshell Ndegeocello, José James, Tia Fuller, Aruán Ortiz, Gretchen Parlato, and Rudresh Mahanthappa. The park will open from 10 a.m.-11 p.m. daily during the event, which will also include a KidZone area, shopping and food vendors.

Here’s a bit of background on the performers:

  • Salvant, a Miami native, moved to France in 2007 to study law, classical and baroque voice at the Darius Milhaud Conservatory. She sings jazz standards and traditional songs, and in 2010 won the Thelonious Monk competition in Washington, D.C.


  •  Farinacci’s repertoire includes fresh interpretations of classics by Ornette Coleman, Astor Piazzolla and Billie Holiday as well as originals.


  •  Bassist Ndegeocello has played with the Rolling Stones, Madonna, Alanis Morissette, James Blood Ulmer, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Tony Allen, John Medeski, John Mellencamp, Billy Preston, and Chaka Khan, and was one of the first women featured on the cover of Bass Player Magazine.


  • New York-based singer James offers a blend of jazz, hip-hop, R&B and electronica.  His 2008 debut “The Dreamer” and its 2010 follow-up, “BlackMagic” turned him into an underground sensation in both the modern jazz and DJ culture scenes.  


  • Saxophonist Fuller spent five years in Beyonce’s band and is the Assistant Musical Director for Esperanza Spalding’s Radio Music Society touring band.


  • Ortiz is a critically acclaimed Cuban pianist, an award-winning composer, and a producer and educator, both in New York and internationally.  BET Jazz named him “the latest Cuban wunderkind to arrive in the United States.”


  • Modern jazz singer Parlato is an alumnus of the Thelonious Monk Institute, where she won its 2004 International Vocal Competition. Her 2009 breakthrough, “In a Dream,” was called “the most alluring jazz vocal album of 2009” by Billboard.


  • Saxophonist/composer  Mahanthappa mixes progressive jazz with his Indian culture. He spent his early years in Colorado then studied at Berklee College of Music. Mahanthappa was named alto saxophonist of the year in Downbeat’s 2011 & 2012 International Critics Polls. 
Melissa Ruggieri

About Melissa Ruggieri

Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers music and entertainment news for Atlanta Music Scene blog on ajc.

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